Double Knock Out rose
image by H.B. Dean
With their easy care, Knock Out roses have been a favorite among gardeners since their introduction in 2000. These roses are extremely disease-resistant and bloom continuously throughout the growing season.
Select a site for the Knock Out rose. Roses require six hours of full sunlight every day. They need moisture-retentive, rich, well-drained soil with a pH of 5.8 to 6.8. Select a garden location that gives the mature rose plenty of room to grow.
Amend the soil a month before planting the rose. Till the soil 2 feet deep and remove weeds and garden debris. Test the soil using a soil testing kit. Add hydrated lime to increase the alkalinity or sulfur to increase acidity. Mix in a generous amount of well-rotted compost or manure.
Plant the rose bush when all threat of frost has passed. Dig a hole 2 feet deep by 2 feet wide; put the soil on a tarpaulin or into a wheelbarrow. Gauge how much soil was removed from the hole, then mix that much peat moss, potting soil and mulch in the wheelbarrow.
Shovel the new potting mixture back into the hole until it is half full. Fill the hole with water. Use your shovel to mix the water and potting mixture--it will have the consistency of unset pudding.
Place the Knock Out rose into the hole and have someone hold it so that the bud union--the part where the roots and canes meet--is above the ground. Shovel the soil mixture into the hole until the mixture is firm. Tamp the soil gently.
Spread a 2-inch layer of mulch under the rose bush and mound it to cover the bud union. Use the mulch to build a dam about 1 foot away from the rose bush to help retain water as the plant settles into the garden.
Water the Knock Out rose every day until it shows signs of new growth, then begin reducing the mulch from around the bud union.